Jump to content


Photo

Cinerama Dome


  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic

#1 Dan Adlerstein

Dan Adlerstein
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 20 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera

Posted 20 December 2005 - 08:38 PM

For those of you who live in LA and have seen a film at the Cinerama dome at arclight...
the few movies I've seen there I've been dissapointed in the cinematography. most notably, I had heard good things about the photography in "the phantom of the opera," but when i went to see it there i was suprised by the extreme milkiness of the blacks and the overall lack of contrast. since then i have refused to go see a movie there. my theory is that the extreme curveture of the screen is such that the light from one side of the screen is corrupting the image on the other side -- adding a low level of light cantamination to the entire image, and thus reducing the overall contrast. my friends were annoyed that i wanted to see "king kong" on one of the other screens at arclight instead of the huge screen at the cinerama dome.
am i right about this? have others of you experienced this? thoughts?

thanks. dan.
  • 0

#2 Tenolian Bell

Tenolian Bell
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 907 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Brooklyn, NY

Posted 21 December 2005 - 02:28 PM

I saw Kill Bill volume 2, Star Wars Ep3, and recently King Kong at the Arclight, they all looked fine.
  • 0

#3 Bill Totolo

Bill Totolo
  • Sustaining Members
  • 698 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 21 December 2005 - 05:02 PM

Now that I think about it I think I agree with you. Not sure as to the cause but I see what you mean by the low contrast image.

Although, I have to say, "S.W.A.T." looked fine (company meeting, pre-screening). But maybe that movie was somewhat over saturated to begin with.
  • 0

#4 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 21 December 2005 - 05:32 PM

The early Cinerama screens were more deeply curved, but made up of hundreds of vertical ribbons instead of using a solid single piece -- looking at the screen dead-on, it looked like one solid screen, but looking at it from an exreme raking angle, you saw all the gaps. This trick got rid of cross-reflection problems that tend to reduce contrast and wash out the blacks (the worst example is domed Omnimax projection.)

The curved screen was more immersive for the audience, and the three-camera, three-projector Cinerama set-up meant that there was less barrel distortion problems and each projector only had to hold focus on one-third of the screen width, so it was razor-sharp from edge to edge.

Of course, this whole set-up was highly cumbersome.

Eventually there was single-lens 65mm Todd-AO, but the lens that replicated the 144 degree Cinerama perspective from 3 cameras was extremely distorted and called the "bug-eye" lens. In the mid 1960's, Dr. Richard Vetter developed a less barrel-distorted 150 degree super wide-angle lens for the Todd-AO 65mm cameras and called it "Dimension 150". He also developed a single curved screen, less curved than Cinerama used, to project it on. This is what the Dome has today, a D-150 screen.

Clearly the whole system was originally designed for 70mm projection of extremely wide-angle photography, where the curvature of the screen would add to the immersive effect of the viewing experience -- low distortion was not a high priority compared to creating that "Cinerama effect".

But now that only 35mm prints are projected on the screen generally, and most movies use less wide-angle widescreen cinematography, some people complain about the distortion that the screen causes. I tend to notice that (horizons becoming banana-shaped, etc.) more than the loss of contrast problem.

So from a historical standpoint, since curved screens are becoming dinosaurs, I don't want the Cinerama Dome to change a thing other than that they should show more old 70mm prints. But in terms of getting a high-quality large-screen presentation, you might prefer the flat Arclight screens.

When "Evita" premiered at the Dome, some purists were upset by the fact that Alan Parker had them install a flat screen in front of the curved screen (which made the front rows too close) but other people understood why he did that.
  • 0

#5 Tenolian Bell

Tenolian Bell
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 907 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Brooklyn, NY

Posted 21 December 2005 - 08:27 PM

Now this is true there is some distortion due to the bend of the screen.

You can see it in the horizon has David mentioned.

You can also see distortion in faces if the actor is in a close up at about a third of the frame.

But that never really bothered me.

Edited by tenobell, 21 December 2005 - 08:28 PM.

  • 0

#6 Tim J Durham

Tim J Durham
  • Sustaining Members
  • 742 posts
  • Director
  • East Coast, Baby!

Posted 22 December 2005 - 12:14 AM

Now this is true there is some distortion due to the bend of the screen.

You can see it in the horizon has David mentioned.

You can also see distortion in faces if the actor is in a close up at about a third of the frame.

But that never really bothered me.

I just saw "Syriana" there a week ago. Reserved seating, booze, compared to the way the high school kids project the films in my local megaplex, I never thought I'd say paying $14 to see a movie would be money well spent. But there you have it.

Then drinks at the British pub a block away afterward. "The Cat and... something". Nice courtyard and a surprisingly happening scene.
  • 0


FJS International, LLC

Willys Widgets

Broadcast Solutions Inc

The Slider

CineLab

Ritter Battery

Metropolis Post

Tai Audio

Aerial Filmworks

Paralinx LLC

Abel Cine

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Wooden Camera

Technodolly

rebotnix Technologies

CineTape

Rig Wheels Passport

Opal

Visual Products

Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

Visual Products

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

Paralinx LLC

Abel Cine

Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

CineLab

Tai Audio

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Wooden Camera

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineTape

Technodolly

Rig Wheels Passport

FJS International, LLC

Glidecam

The Slider

Opal